Surrounded by friends and family, Annie Carlton celebrated her 107th birthday on Thursday, March 27, her vivacious smile lighting the room.
Carlton, who is described by those that know her as someone to be counted on, has been known to shower joy on folks.
“I used to live with her,” said Lethia Lee, one of those attending Carlton’s birthday party. “I stayed with her when I was in elementary school, when Mary Brown went to college, and I took Mary Brown’s place.” Lee said that she stayed with Carlton for five or six years. Mary Brown is the niece of Annie Carlton.
“It was a joy,” Lee added, emotion rising in her voice. “I learned so much from her.” Many people in the community where she used to teach, down near Garland, had the opportunity to be taught by Carlton during their elementary school years.
“She loved me and I loved her,” said Lee. Carlton taught for around 45 years, and she was born in an area called Rileytown, which her friends and family say is a triangle between Ingold, Parkersburg and Garland. Brown said that David Boykin is the only one of the family that still lives in that area.
Carlton retired from teaching after 45 years.
She is also known by family to be adventurous, and even went so far as to take some kids up in a crop duster and explore Luray Caverns where stalactites and stalagmites could be found everywhere.
And she loved the outdoors.
Carlton, friends said, refused to cut her hedges in her yard with electric trimmers and would only go out in the yard with manual ones, telling everyone that that was how she could get some exercise.
She also don’t care much for the magnolia tree that keeps littering in her yard, and she has been caught waving the stray leaves back away from her house from her front door,. friends said. “She’s a real proud lady and loves her yard,” Lee interjected.
Carlton was one of nine children — seven boys and two girls. She was one of the oldest, and family thinks that she was the third oldest.
“She survived pneumonia in the 50s,” said Brown. “Her daddy said to her ‘that’s my strong one’.” Carlton has also been strong in her church, and taught Sunday School at Ingold First Baptist Church where she was also a musician.
“She played piano and helped with the choirs,” Brown detailed, going on to also mention that Carlton directed the school choir in Garland. “She is a faithful member of Ingold First Baptist Church.”
Friends, medical staff, and family that were gathered at Carlton’s house said that they could count on Sister Annie, and they shared stories of all the times she’d been called upon and responded.
Getting close to 100 ,she stopped driving at the request of family, but that didn’t keep her down, they attested. Family said that she often would tell people that she ‘got so mad that I couldn’t drive anymore that I started to walk’.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at email@example.com.